Posted by Andy Park on 2 December 2013

In my early 20s, I served as an interim pastor in two different churches where both the pastors were gifted. Skilled teachers, they had the ability to draw large numbers of people. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with my life. I thought I was headed for full-time ministry. But when I compared myself with those gifted leaders, I couldn't see how I would 'make the grade'. I couldn't see how my particular mix of spiritual gifts would enable me to excel in pastoral work. I led small groups, taught Bible studies, counselled younger Christians and led worship. I did reasonably well. But I wasn't setting the world on fire as an evangelist - or drawing great numbers to the groups. My greatest strength was always in music. I had lesser gifts in other areas. I wanted to be faithful to use my gifts to fully serve God, but I didn't see how I could fit into a staff position. I wondered if my quiet personality would be a liability to me as a pastor. 

Amid that soul-searching, I was invited to join a church planting team in Langley, British Columbia. I majored in worship while working in other  areas of ministry. Suddenly I found myself in an environment where I thrived. I was encouraged to develop worship leaders for small groups and Sunday services. I was amazed at the turnaround in my ministry in such a short time. I wasn't a dynamic speaker with a magnetic personality, yet God could use me to impart the heart and skills required to be a worship leader. 

That was the first of many experiences in learning not to compare myself with other ministers. I was measuring my worth and calling by the gifts and callings of others - when all I had to do was minister with the gifts and strengths God had given me. 

'Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve ethers,' says the apostle Peter, ‘faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides' (1 Peter 4:10-11). 

That scripture contains essential lessons. We all have different gifts. Although we can sharpen the tools God gives us, we can’t determine what those tools are. Our tendency is to see a gifted person and ask, 'Why couldn't I have been given that ability?' I often marvel at God's sovereignty the way he calls and endows each person uniquely. Many times I've had to repent of jealousy of another's gifts or position and realise God is the boss. 

'There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit,' we're told in 1 Corinthians  12:4-6. 'There are deferent kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different effects but the same God works all of them in all men.' He is the only source of our gifts. To forget that is to stand in awe of gifted leaders around us, rather than give glory to him. 

Our world defines success as gaining power and influence. We must re-educate ourselves according to God's values. Peter tells us if we're faithful to give away whatever God has given us, we've found success. Success equals obedience. In heaven, I doubt that Jesus will ask us, 'How many people did you minister to?' He'll ask, 'Were you faithful to use all the talents I gave you for the kingdom? 

My problem of comparing myself to others didn't stop there. The more worship leaders I was exposed to, the more people I saw with greater expertise than I had - either vocal or instrumental ability, or skill in song-writing. I had a hard time not being envious. Confessing my weakness to God and others, I learned to rejoice in others' successes and thank God for their gifts. God began to plant in me a generous, unselfish heart so I could be genuinely happy when others around me reached new heights in worship leading. I don't think there was a magical moment in that process. It was a matter of being relentless to gain the heart of God and turn away from my self—centredness. 

 

 

part two to follow...

More like this

Paul Baloche and Jim Mueller on marriage

A conversation on marriage between Jim Mueller of Growthtrac.com and one of the most prominent praise and worship songwriters of our generation, Paul Baloche.

Navigating The Inclusive Worship Minefield

“Oh No We Wont!”
We’ve all heard it - the introductory words of the worship leader: “We’ll all stand to worship”. It’s usually at this point I’m trying to stifle the impish desire to shout out, pantomime style: “Oh no we won’t!”

WAW Podcast: Worship Team Auditions - RoundTable Discussion

Join this edition of the We Are Worship Podcast as we discuss worship team auditions with a handful of seasoned worship leaders. Thanks to Ben Abu Saada, Chris Vacher, Jamie Miley, and Ryan Loche for being a part of this...